App users' unaware data being shared with Facebook

App users' unaware data being shared with Facebook

This information is sent whether or not the user has a Facebook account, but if they do, the info can be tied to a profile, essentially de-anonymizing them.

German security experts MobilSicher last month tested apps including Pregnancy+ and MigraineBuddy, Bible+ and Muslim Pro were collecting information and transmitting it to Facebook. Even after the company rolled out an upgrade in early summer, there have still been ongoing bug reports, and it's clear from this report that many apps have yet to implement the fix. But an investigation by Privacy International has found that many Android apps are sharing data with Facebook about people regardless of whether they are logged into their Facebook account. or even have a Facebook account at all. One example is travel search app Kayak, which sends Facebook detailed information about users' flight searches, including data like departure/arrival date, city and airport as well as number and class of tickets.

While Facebook says that the onus is on app developers to get users to agree that they have the legal right to collect and share personal data, in June the company launched a feature that allows developers to delay collecting data until the user consents.

The researchers found numerous apps tested were automatically sending data to Facebook as soon as the apps were opened.

The tested apps were for Android phones only, not iPhones. The information sent to Facebook included the app's title, the user's unique Android ID, and other app analytics.

Privacy International did some research on Facebook's data sharing arrangements with developers who incorporated the firm's SDKs into their apps. The controversial apps can also identify users based on the apps they have installed and if they typically travel around with the same person, as pointed out by Engadget.

The apps all use Facebook's Software Developer Kit (SDK), which allows developers to use Facebook's analytics service.

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If combined, event data such as "App installed", "SDK Initialized" and "Deactivate app" from different apps also offer a detailed insight into the app usage behavior of hundreds of millions of people.

Last month, Facebook was once again in hot water over privacy violations, when it revealed a bug in one of its APIs exposed the private photos of almost 6.8 million users.

'Recognizing the value of improvements in this area, we're now working on a suite of changes, including developing a new tool called Clear History, that we hope will address your feedback'.

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